Do gerbils smell? No, gerbils are actually one of the least smelly rodents. They are almost odorless.
How is that possible? Let me explain.
Why Are Gerbils Almost Odorless?
Gerbils are desert animals, and experts at absorbing almost everything they eat and drink. Therefore, they don’t need to drink much water, which means they don’t urinate much compared to other rodents. And less urine means less odor.
A lot of animals use their urine to scent mark, but gerbils don’t. They instead use a scent gland on their stomachs, which further helps to keep urine production down.
As a bonus, the small amount of urine makes gerbils easier to take care of, since you don’t have to clean the tank or cage very often. Once every two to four weeks should be sufficient (depending on number of gerbils, size of tank/cage, volume and type of bedding, etc.).
Faeces is another potential source of bad odor. However, a gerbil’s poop is small and hard, and therefore don’t smell much.
A pet’s fur can also smell bad. Luckily, a gerbil’s fur only has a faint smell and shouldn’t be a problem.
However, it’s important to know that there are times when gerbils do smell. A stressed or scared rodent, or one suffering from illness (more likely with older gerbils), can smell stronger than they normally would.
How to Reduce Bad Odor
There are several things you can do in order to reduce or stop bad smell:
- Clean the cage regularly.
- Provide plenty of bedding to absorb the waste.
- Keep the cage or tank in a well-ventilated room.
- Provide healthy food. Be aware that changes in diet may cause bad smell.
- Have your vet check your little friend for health issues. Medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease can change the concentration of the urine, which could make it smell more.
Why Do Urine Smell Bad?
Urine is normally the main reason behind bad smell, but why is that?
Well, the simple answer is that urine contains urea – also known as carbamide. Bacteria breaks down urea to ammonia, and ammonia stinks.
If an individual – pet or human – hasn’t been drinking enough water, the concentration of ammonia will be higher and therefore smell stronger.
Simple as that.